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Justin Linde, left, and Zach Pederson, workers for Oakes Lawn Care, recover one of the 60-some sections of dock from Green Lake at the Skyline Estates Marina on Tuesday afternoon. A brief but powerful windstorm late Monday afternoon caused the damage. (Tribune photo by Rand Middleton)

Big wind deals blow to Green Lake docks, boats

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News Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

SPICER — Wind hit the north shore of Green Lake like a sledgehammer late Monday afternoon.

The hour-long windstorm erupted out of the southeast starting around 5 p.m., driving rollers and white caps into the shoreline where water levels had risen a foot due to repeated weekend rainstorms.

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On Tuesday workers and volunteers were busy recovering broken docks and boatlifts. Watercraft were pulled from the water and parked on land.

“There’s lots of blown out lake equipment,” said Mike Schoffmam, owner of Mike’s Dock and Yard Service. “I’ve seen this kind of wind damage five times in 33 years.”

He had 20 workers repairing and raising docks but could not take care of all the callers immediately.

“You got to take care of your longtime customers first,” he said late Tuesday afternoon over the phone.

At Skyline Estates in the lake’s northwest corner, residents sat on a lakeshore patio and watched workers from Oakes Lawn Care retrieve aluminum dock sections and supports. Only the slumped, 20-foot access planks remained above water. Every slip was empty. Seventeen pontoons/boats were docked there on Monday, including a sailboat that tipped on its side.

An Oakes Lawn Care crew of six worked all day Tuesday and into the evening, pulling some 64 dock panels and perhaps an equal number of H-shaped supports from the lake bottom. Owner Oscar Oakes said along the north shore, boats were damaged from pounding against the docks and he has seen many pieces of mangled equipment.

Along Lake Shore Drive, where the road rims the lake only a few yards from the lake, Kathy Fehr watched from her living room as the raging waves broke against the shore. “The spray seemed 4-foot high,” she said. “In 30 years here, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

Damage to her dock was minor.

High water seemed to accelerate the property damage.

“We got six inches of rain Saturday,” said Schoffman. “Every inch of rain that falls (in its basin), Green Lake goes up by two inches. It came up fast in two hours. The Crow River watershed comes in at the Olde Mill Inn but it doesn’t go out nearly as fast at the Lake Calhoun outlet.”

His dock crews already were busy lifting docks to gain clearance on the swollen lake when the storm hit.

The high winds caused damage all along the north shore. At County Park No. 5, near the lake’s northeast corner, a dozen volunteers helped reassemble the dock.

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Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
(320) 214-4334
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